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EFSA corrects its risk assessment of bisphenol A to acknowledge that experts didn’t say ‘no health concern’

CHEM Trust have discovered that the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) have admitted that the abstract of January’s risk assessment of the commonly used hormone disrupting chemical bisphenol A incorrectly stated that there was ‘no health concern’.

CHEM Trust wrote to the EU Health Commissioner on 25th February complaining about EFSA’s misrepresentation of the risk assessment and had a reply from DG Health dated 24th March. EFSA changed the text of the abstract on 25th March 2015, the next day. It seems highly likely that CHEM Trust’s letter triggered this change by EFSA.

The new abstract notes (our emphasis):

“This Executive Summary of the Scientific Opinion, published on 25 March 2015, replaces the earlier version published on 21 January 2015.*

* An editorial amendment was made to the abstract to align the wording with that of the summary and body of the opinion. This does not affect the contents or conclusions of the opinion. The original opinion is available on request, as is a version showing all the changes made.”

The original abstract stated (our emphasis):

“By comparing this t-TDI with the exposure estimates, the CEF Panel concluded that there is no health concern for any age group from dietary exposure or from aggregated exposure.”

We pointed out the error in this abstract in our blog on the day the opinion was published, 21st January 2015. The assessment actually said that there was ‘low health concern from aggregated exposure’, which is not the same as ‘no health concern’.

The only change in the revised abstract is to correct the sentence we had highlighted as incorrect (our emphasis):

By comparing this t-TDI with the exposure estimates, the CEF Panel concluded that there is no health concern for any age group from dietary exposure and low health concern from aggregated exposure.”

Michael Warhurst, Executive Director of CHEM Trust, said:

“CHEM Trust welcomes EFSA’s belated admission that they misrepresented the results of the bisphenol A risk assessment in the abstract of the assessment.

However, as we set out in our letter to EFSA’s Director General, the incorrect press release remains on their web site, along with an incorrect briefing.

They need to correct all their materials relating to this risk assessment, and announce that they are doing this, otherwise people will be confused as to the real outcome.

EFSA must also establish – and reveal – how the abstract and communications materials ended up misrepresenting such an important issue”

CHEM Trust sent a letter to EFSA’s Executive Director on 31st March 2015 – details here – before we found that the abstract had been changed. Update: EFSA’s reply is available here.

For the latest information on bisphenol A in our blog, click here.

This story has been covered by Chemical Watch and Food Packaging Forum.